Close Menu
Top 10

Gin Brand Champion 2018: Hendrick’s

Hendrick's: 'Overnight success'
Hendrick’s: ‘Overnight success’

It could be argued that this year’s Gin Brand Champion, Hendrick’s, is the spirit that sparked the craft gin craze.

Over the course of 2017, the William Grant & Sons­-owned gin, known for its quirky branding and heavy cucumber flavour, sailed past 1m cases for the first time (the brand sold 953,000 cases in 2016, but the table below rounds up the figure)

“We sometimes joke that Hendrick’s has been a 20­-year overnight success,” says Pamela Selby, global brand director for Hendrick’s Gin. “The brand has been allowed to flourish in its own way over time, and we are understandably delighted with the performance. We went against the grain by launching a gin that completely broke all the rules of what a gin should be, and our distillation process was genuinely groundbreaking.”

As a “pioneer that led the gin boom”, Hendrick’s’ has, from day one, taken a bold – and at times bonkers – approach to marketing. The gin has delivered several “immersive experiential brand events” over the years, including the travelling cucumber slicer.

“Hendrick’s didn’t behave in the way a gin brand was expected to,” Selby says. “It was a refreshing antidote to a category that was increasingly tired and fusty.” A far cry from today’s thriving gin market.

Take the UK, for example, which saw exports of British gin smash through the £500m (US$696m) mark in 2017 for the first time, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

Consumers around the world continue to show a real thirst for gin, and as such many of the world’s top-­selling brands reported impressive growth in 2017.

Diageo’s Gordon’s, which tapped into the trend for pink gin last year, remains the biggest gin brand, growing 10.9% to reach 5.1m cases. Stablemate Tanqueray demonstrated the fastest sales growth, however, rising 16.7% to hit 3.5m cases. Bacardi’s Bombay Sapphire clung onto second position with a 5.9% rise in sales, while Beam Suntory’s Larios brand reached 1.4m cases following a 12.7% increase. In fact, all gin brands listed below reported growth or stagnation.

With so many gins now competing in a saturated market, there are calls for tighter regulation of the category to protect its integrity and enhance consumer understanding. However, one thing seems certain – the gin bubble shows no signs of bursting any time soon.

“The gin category is going from strength to strength, fuelled by experimentalism, innovation and a demand for something a little more daring and adventurous,” adds Selby. “The charming, witty and surreal Victoriana world that we create is a core pillar of the brand. It is a rich, unusual and consistent anchor for the brand that appeals to drinkers around the world.”

*The Brand Champions data is listed to one decimal place for ease of reading, but the percentage changes are based on the full data supplied. All brand data is supplied in millions of nine-­litre cases.

Gin (figures: million 9l case sales)

BRAND OWNER 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 %+/­-
Gordon’s Diageo 3.7 3.6 4.4 4.6 5.1 10.9%
Bombay Sapphire Bacardi 2.8 3.0 3.3 3.8 4.0 5.9%
Tanqueray Diageo 2.2 2.4 2.6 3.0 3.5 16.7%
Beefeater Pernod Ricard 2.6 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.8 0.0%
Seagram’s Pernod Ricard 2.8 2.7 2.5 2.6 2.6 0.0%
Larios Beam Suntory 0.9 1.0 1.0 1.2 1.4 12.7%
Hendrick’s William Grant & Sons 0.5 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.1 13.3%

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No